• Water Industry Shares Stage with David Attenborough

Water Industry Shares Stage with David Attenborough

Sep 04 2014 Read 1204 Times

The water industry took centre stage yesterday (Wed 3 September) at a major conference on halting wildlife declines.

United Utilities Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews, spoke at the Conference for Nature alongside Sir David Attenborough and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg today. The conference was backed by leading conservation groups including the RSPB, National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and Butterfly Conservation.

The conference, held at Church House in Westminster, a stones throw from the Houses of Parliament, aimed to bring politicians, industry leaders and wildlife groups together to tackle the problems nature faces.

Sir David Attenborough said: “From the food we eat to the popular bedtime stories we read to our children, nature touches everyone’s lives more deeply than we can possibly imagine. The escalating erosion of wildlife from our planet is a direct threat to many facets of our own quality of life.

"Because of the complex relationship society has with nature, it is obvious that our response to saving it must extend from every possible quarter too. From you and I in our own domains, from business magnates to politicians, and from farmers to faith leaders, everyone has an opportunity to save nature. With an increasing global footprint, mankind is intensifying the crisis for wildlife, but as individuals we can all be a part of the solution for saving it too.”

United Utilities is one of the key players in the water industry helping to bring nature back to our countryside. The company is working with wildlife groups on projects such as the Dove Stone reservoir in the Peak District, creating habitat for curlews, mountain hares and a range of upland wildlife.

The RSPB’s Darren Moorcroft, conference organiser, said: “The groundbreaking State of Nature report launched last year by Sir David Attenborough and the country’s leading wildlife groups revealed that 60 per cent of the UK’s native species are in decline. Despite all the work that is being done, wildlife is still in trouble and we need to think bigger if we are going to tackle the crisis nature is facing.

“This conference marks the start of a new way of tackling this crisis, by bringing industry, politician and conservationists together to find game changing solutions. The strength of support this conference has received industry, politicians and conservationists shows the real level of ambition there is.”

Chris Matthews of United Utilities said: “Industry can make a real difference in the fight against wildlife decline. A lot can be achieved with partnerships and some creative thinking.

“It’s all about finding solutions where everyone wins – who would have thought that by restoring moorland peat you could help wildlife as well as water quality? That is what we have been working on with the RSPB and our Sustainable Catchment Management Programme over the last ten years and we are seeing startling results – less erosion, better habitats for wildlife and cleaner water in our reservoirs.”

Other water industry partners who attended the conference included Thames Water, Bristol Water, Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water, South West Water and Water UK.

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